DELMAR,Md;/Del. - The Environmental Protection Agency is in Delmar this week looking for the source and cause of low levels of the chemical PCE that was discovered in the town well.
At 18 different locations throughout Delmar, both on the town's Maryland and Delaware sides, the EPA has dug tiny wells and taken soil samples. EPA officials believe the chemical perchloroethylene, or PCE, could have entered the well from a dry cleaner in town that has been closed for decades.
"We don't know for certain that it came from the dry cleaner. We just know we have a dry cleaner here that had a release, and we know we have dry cleaning fluid about three to four blocks away in the city well. We believe that it could be from that dry cleaner, we're not certain, but that's what we're trying to establish," said Richard Rupert, the EPA's on-scene coordinator.
But it is not the soil itself that the EPA is looking at.
"We're looking actually at the soil gas that's in the soil column and we analyze the soil gas that's in that column," said David Mickunas, a chemist for the EPA.
The analysis is being done right in Delmar because the EPA brought along a mobile laboratory. Right now, the levels of PCE in the city well and well below any dangerous levels, but the tests are being done to determine if the chemicals have reached the groundwater. The EPA said if there is high enough levels of the chemical, the next step could be a series of monitor wells to determine which way the groundwater is flowing in Delmar.
The message from the EPA for residents in Delmar is the tests are being done to determine the source of the chemical now, so it does not become a health risk later. Right now, the levels of PCE are not something to worry about in Delmar.
A full report of the EPA's findings should be available in the next four to six weeks.
Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:49:09 GMT
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